Registered voters who attended Upton’s Annual Town Meeting on Thursday, May 5 approved a $20,702,889 operational budget.
This year 250 of Upton’s registered voters came out for the annual meeting. Voters reviewed every penny in the budget and held 16 out of the 365 lines for discussion.
Resident Glen Fowler questioned the line items pertaining to elected official’s stipends. He said most elected officials receive a $500 stipend no matter how many hours they give for their position Held. “Some elected officials earn $100 an hour while others earn $1 an hour.”
Fowler noted the elected BVT School Committee member is paid a “$500 stipend, which turns out to be $15 an hour” while the “Trust Fund Commissioners accumulate very low hours. They are getting over $100 an hour,” he said.
Selectman Bob Fleming said the elected officials stipends were set under a town bylaw several years ago.
After a lengthy discussion, Fowler’s request to adjust elected official’s stipends to zero was rejected by the town.
The line item related to police overtime was questioned by a resident who wanted a breakdown. Chief Bradley provided the information.
Town Manger Blythe Robinson explained the 30k difference between FY15/16 town counsel expenses and funds proposed for FY16/17. Robinson said the FY15/16 amount was larger due to some unforeseen legal expenses including the condemnation of a house on Hopkinton Road and a lawsuit involving a parcel of land owned by the Town that someone claims was not town-owned.
After all line items held for discussion were hashed out the Town approved all 365 budget line items and the operational budget as proposed by the Finance Committee was accepted.
Out of the 28 Articles presented to the Town three were passed over and two failed.
Article 22 requesting the installation of a gate at the entrance of Heritage Park was passed over once it was determined the William Knowlton Trust Fund would pay for the gate.
The Town passed over Articles 21 and Article 28 . Articl 21 related to a green vehicle for the animal control officer and Article 28 requested an under-ride. Passing over an article at town meeting essentially fails the article.
The Town rejected Article 12 which proposed the town participate in a mosquito control program.
Article 27 was also rejected. The article requested an independent consultant complete a work study to evaluate the pay and job descriptions of those who work in the Tax Collectors/Treasurers office.
All other articles on the Warrant we approved.